Creating a safe work environment is something that all employers can do to foster positivity and productivity in the workplace. This is especially important in healthcare settings, where good patient care and a healthy work environment go hand-in-hand.

LGBTQ+ nurses have long faced challenges in the workplace. Recognizing these challenges and working to overcome them can help nurses in your healthcare facility feel safe and accepted.

At Eisenhower Health, we’ve made inclusion for LGBTQ+ nurses a priority, to ensure that all of our staff feel safe and accepted in their workplace. That’s why we’ve been recognized in the Healthcare Equality Index, an annual survey conducted by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, for eight years in a row! See below, some of the efforts that we’ve found are especially beneficial for LGBTQ+ healthcare workers.

Ask Fellow Nurses for Pronouns – Don’t Assume

Asking for pronouns is becoming a standard practice in many places. At Eisenhower Health, this helps LGBTQ+ nurses in multiple ways:

  • Affirms gender identity. Asking for pronouns answers questions and provides clarity for staff and patients.
  • Signals to staff their work environment is inclusive. Providing pronouns as a matter of course in your workplace signals to all that your healthcare facility prioritizes inclusivity.
  • Educates those who might have questions about gender identity. Not everyone understands LGBTQ+ issues regarding pronouns. Asking for pronouns can start conversations that help to educate those with questions.

Educate Yourself About LGBTQ+ Issues

Whether you’re a nurse, a manager, an administrator or a doctor, you can educate yourself about LGBTQ+ issues. Try reading information that you find online about LGBTQ+ issues in the workplace, read about Pride month and the history of Pride month, and scour LGBTQ+ boards and websites with information that enlightens you and broadens your perspective. Learn about the new terms that are used regularly in LGBTQ+ communities, such as cisgender, non-binary, gender binary, intersex and more.

You don’t have to take in all this education at once, but do it slowly, over several weeks or months. Taking your time makes this project easier and allows you to think about how the information that you’ve learned can be applied to the workplace.

Make Yourself an Active Ally

Once you’ve educated yourself on LGBTQ+ issues, make yourself a vocal ally of the LGBTQ+ community. Attend events to show support, and take time to educate other members of the staff where you work about the issues that you’ve learned about. By making yourself an ally, you can help create a more inclusive and welcoming environment.

Show Respect

While taking the time to educate oneself can help foster a more inclusive workspace, above all, nurses must respect both their coworkers’ and patients’ sexual orientations and gender identities. In some cases, this can require setting aside religious or personal beliefs, but ultimately, doing so can help to ensure that your fellow nurses are performing their jobs to the best of their abilities and patients are receiving the best possible care.

Here are a few strategies that can help you develop and show respect:

  • Use gender fluid language. Don’t assume anyone’s preferences or identity.
  • Ask open-ended questions. Getting to know your coworkers on a more personal level can help you to better understand where they’re coming from.
  • Maintain non-judgmental behavior. Remember that at the end of the day, you’re there to help patients get better. Showing respect to all patients and employees can only aid in this process.

If you feel comfortable, share your own pronouns on your name tag. Even if you are cisgender, sharing your pronouns can help your fellow nurses and patients feel more at ease sharing their own.

Developing respect when it goes against your beliefs can take time, patience, and continuous education, but it also creates a healthier environment for everyone involved. As stated in the Code of Ethics For Nurses, “the nurse practices with compassion and respect for every person’s inherent dignity, worth, and unique attributes.

Learn About Providing Healthcare to LBGTQ+ Patients

LBGTQ+ nurse and staff members aren’t the only ones who face challenges in healthcare facilities. LBGTQ+ patients also face challenges and may be misunderstood when receiving healthcare. By addressing their issues, you help to create an inclusive environment.

Are You An LGBTQ+ Nurse? Enjoy a Safe and Inclusive Workplace Environment at Eisenhower Health

Eisenhower Health is committed to providing a safe and inclusive workplace environment for members of the LBGTQ+ community. Want to know more about working at Eisenhower Health? See our nurse opportunities on our job posting boards.

Originally posted on 22/7/2022

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